If you cash settled with Southern Response before 1 October 2014 it’s possible it misrepresented the real costs of your repair / rebuild.
Some people that cash settled / discharged their claims with Southern Response have become aware that prior to settlement Southern Response did not disclose all versions of its Detailed Repair/Rebuild Analysis (DRA). We intend to address this on your behalf with Southern Response.
Did Southern Response omit costs?
Prior to 23 July 2015* it appears Southern Response had a practice of maintaining two DRA’s. We understand, when this happened, that one of the DRA’s did not include all of the costs that form part of the repair/rebuild cost. For example, demolition costs, professional fees, contingencies.
We understand that the DRA with the costs omitted was the one used by Southern Response to calculate the final cash settlement on some claims, without Southern Response ever disclosing the fully costed DRA to the homeowner.
* Southern Response appears to have changed that practice after losing in the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court to Avonside Holdings Ltd.
Did Southern Response intentionally keep back DRA’s?
We are aware of at least one situation where an undisclosed second DRA was discovered due to a Privacy Act request on a homeowner’s Southern Response file. The second DRA showed significantly higher overall costs to repair the home than the DRA Southern Response disclosed to the homeowner. This homeowner entered, in good faith, a full and final settlement agreement with Southern Response.
We believe Southern Response’s failure to disclose all of the DRA’s it had on file, as well as the omitted costs, is a breach of its “good faith” obligations. We also think it is a likely Southern Response breached the Fair Trading Act 1986 by misrepresenting the rebuild or repair cost in the DRA, or accompanying letter, that then led to the settlement.
What we need to do is establish how many people may have been misled and look at what can be done to get compensation for them from Southern Response. The more people the better as we will be able share information and create leverage. The claim we will be making is for the difference between the DRA figures together with interest and costs.
Your first steps are to:
- Complete our survey so we can share information with you.
- Ask Southern Response for copies of DRA’s under the Privacy Act.